Do You Liked Being Overworked as a Manager? 3 Steps to Great Delegation

I was talking to an old client and friend this past week and they mentioned they were bad at delegation. And now they were in a position of management responsible for others which made it a little more painful and obvious.

Well there’s a fix to that and Nike knows it best...just do it!

Often we don’t delegate as managers mostly because we’re controlling and “want it done right”. Well the tough thing is you are going to be doing lots of things yourself. And either you’ll being living to work and not have anything outside of that or you need to ask for help.

This is a great visual that comes from Ken Blanchard's book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey. You can see that the team member brings their "monkey" (problem, task or project) to the manager who takes responsibility for the "monkey" to the point where now they have everyone's monkeys and are overburdened and overworked and the "monkeys" ultimately get neglected.

But more importantly, by not delegating you are actually limiting your organization. You can only physically do so much. There are only so many hours in the day. You have only so many hands and eyes and so much energy. You may have more of these things than others, but it's still limited.

Side note, multi-tasking is a farce and proven not to be realistic. If we all were so great at multi-tasking why are we getting in so many car accidents while looking at our phones?

So let others help you. You will multiply your efforts. Not only that, you will grow your people. Their skills, abilities and confidence will grow and soon you'll be able to give them even more. And then they will actually be empowered. No one likes to be disempowered, bored and judged because they have a boss that won't delegate or calls it wrong because they don't know how to do it.

Ok Devin, I get it...delegate. But how?

Here are a few steps to do it right.

The first step comes from the ever so popular and eternally blazoned into my brain song (because its my niece's favorite) from the Disney movie Frozen:

1) Let it Go

Like I said before, delegation is about control. You as manager feel like it either wont or doesn't get done right if you don't do it yourself. Newsflash, duh. You're probably correct that it won't get done right.


Because you probably didn't make sure 2 very important things were in place first: competence and clarity. And when these are not in place, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Your team member will screw it up and you'll say "see that's why I have to do it myself".

If you are serious about growing your people and your organization well, without burning yourself out and neglecting all other parts of your life then stay the course.

Make sure your mind is right and that you are committed and have come to terms with the fact that need to give stuff away and that's ultimately the best for everyone.

2) Build Clarity

This is where we help our team members understand where we are going, why, what we are all about and how the task we are giving to them helps support the bigger the picture.

The reason this matters is two-fold. First, they are most likely to be more committed to task because they understand the bigger picture and have a sense of importance ad purpose. Second, they can then make the task, function or project their own and even make tweaks to it to better serve the overall mission.

3) And Then Competence

I've made big mistakes more than once when it comes to competence of my teams. I assumed that if I constantly, thoroughly and inspirationally shared the vision then everything would get done and get done well.

Annnhhhh (that’s one of those incorrect buzzer sounds in case I spelled it wrong)!

You will also have to build the skill of those people right along with regularly sharing the why, the vision and the importance of it.

And by the way it’s ok if you don’t have the skill or knowledge yourself to give to them. There are resources everywhere. Maybe you have the skill somewhere else on the team. Or just simply Google it. There’s all kinds of things online. Or if you can afford it and need the skill that badly, send them out to a training or bring someone in house, like a consultant or trainer.

The skills are out there, it's just vital that you give them to your team if you are going to be able to fully delegate to and empower them.

Happy Delegating!


The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

Devin Craig

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